Buy food in BULK!

bulk

Today's savings tip is one that I am passionate about:

BUYING BULK

I know for some people the thought of buying bulk gives them a headache: no where to store it, can't use up the food in time and it goes bad, hates shopping around for bulk sales, etc. I'm hear to teach you that IT CAN BE EASY!…and it can be a life saver/time saver, too! Warehouses like Costco or Sams Club get wholesale pricing that no other stores get. TAKE ADVANTAGE.

When I grocery shop, I typically only shop at two stores: Wal Mart, and Costco. I shop at Wal Mart because it's a one-stop shop, and they price match.  I shop at Costco because they tend to have amazing prices on everything because, well, they sell in bulk (see How to shop at Costco for more). BIG bulk most of the time. I am actually not a huge fan of coupon-ing. I have found that it takes a lot of time, forces you to buy name-brand most of the time, and well, to be honest, I tend to get better prices when I buy bulk anyway.
Here are some examples of ways I save each month:

  • I have an 85lb yellow lab puppy that eats me out of house and home. We used to buy this dog food for him at Wal Mart:
Pedigree dog food. Close to 20lbs at walmart for around $20. I thought this was a great deal.
I now buy the same exact dog food at costco, 51lbs for $24. That's more than double the food, for nearly the same price!
I have to buy one of these bags every month (yes, my dog eats 50lb of food each month…), so this saves me around $200 a YEAR just on dog food! Yes, it means I have to carry an enormous bag of dog food around Costco and find room for it in my house, but the savings are well worth it.
  • My husband is NOT a vegetable eater. In fact, he hates veggies. I have a hard time getting him to eat them, so I used to buy them in small quantities at the nearest store. I found that I was having to make lots of grocery trips throughout the month just to pick up one tomato, or one head of lettuce. Then I discovered the beauty of buying produce in bulk.
Rather than buying one head of lettuce or one onion, I buy BIG bags of them at Costco. For example, a 10oz bag of spinach leaves at the store cost me between $3-$4, depending on where I buy it.
At Costco I can buy 3lb of spinach for around $3! Now, when you see 3lb of spinach you'll probably think “I will never use this much spinach in a million years.” Maybe true. However, even if you throw some of it out (though you should freeze what you don't need) you are STILL getting a better value by buying it in a bigger bag.
Also, you can get creative and use the spinach in freezer meals, or you can research how to freeze your own chopped spinach.
My example of saving money by buying bulk could go on and on. Here are some bulk-buying tips:
  • Look on craigslist or other local classifieds and consider buying a cheap fridge/freezer or deep freezer. When you buy bulk you will need some extra space, and you definitely make your money back in the long run.
  • Get creative with using your bulk food. If you find that your bulk produce is starting to look a little droopy or your bulk cheese is starting to get old, look online for creative freezer recipes. Make the food into multiple freezer meals that you can store and save for later.
  • You can also get creative by looking for new recipes that include that specific ingredient. I like allrecipes.com because you can search for recipes by ingredient. Plan your meals around your bulk items. If your items are fresh and can't be frozen, plan as many meals as possible around that item.
  • Freeze, freeze, freeze. For example, buy the biggest blocks of cheese possible. Cut it in half or thirds, and put 1 third in the fridge to use right away, slice 1 third into cheese slices, and shred the last third. Freeze the slices and shredded cheese in separate ziplock sandwich baggies and you will always have cheese for sandwiches, quesadillas, etc! This saves so much money.
  • Price-shop. Costco doesn't always have the cheapest prices on some items. For example, I can usually find better deals on cereal and canned food at other stores, but they take the cake when it comes to nearly everything else.
  • Don't be afraid to buy memberships at warehouses like Costco. If you shop there consistantly you will make up the price of your membership in savings pretty quickly.
  • Don't be afraid to buy bulk, even if it's just you, or two of you. My baby is so small he doesn't even eat normal food yet, so it's just me and my husband. However, we buy bulk anyway and save like crazy! Bulk works great for families of all sizes.
  • If you don't want to pay the membership fee, split the membership with an extended family member. You typically get two people on each membership, cutting your price in half. Also, ask for the membership as a shower gift, birthday present, or put it on your Christmas list.
  • Brace yourself because you might spend more upfront than you normally do, but it really does save you in the long run! Just make a budget and stick with it.
  • While I am Costco biased, you can also buy bulk at most other stores. Simply look for the isle marked “bulk items” or ask a clerk. However, you can still usually get the same products cheaper at Costco.
Some of the things I recommend buying in bulk (because it saves so much $$): dairy (eggs, milk, cheese, cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, string cheese…), fruit, bottled water, produce, bread, bagels, condiments, dog food, dog bones, socks, batteries, office supplies, salad fixings (bacon bits, croutons, dressings), seasonings, baking needs (flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, oils, etc), diapers, wipes, vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, candy, chips, and there's much more but here's a starter list.
Give it a try! If you aren't sure if you're sold on buying bulk yet, go to a membership only store like Costco with a friend that has a membership. Try it a few times before committing to paying the fee. Though, I promise you'll be sold.
***Update: My friend Lil just informed me that Sams Club is letting non-members shop there in the month of August. Give it a try and see if you like it!***
Happy savings to you!

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Comments

  1. Jordan-I heard that to cope with the economy, Sam’s Club is leeting non members shop there in August. It will be a good way to try it out without the commitment.

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